Update: Read our Apple Watch 2 review for our opinion on how Apple's second-generation smartwatch performs, or take a gander at the feature list below.
The Apple Watch Series 2 release date is this Friday, and it made a big, water-resistant splash at Apple's iPhone 7 launch event, giving us a revision that's closer to the smartwatch we always wanted.
Its biggest highlight is the most-requested Apple Watch 2 feature: a built-in GPS chip. This allows for more advanced tracking, whether you're hitting the ground running or gazing up at the stars in the sky –and crucially means you can leave your iPhone at home when you go for a run.
And the new Apple Watch Series 2 won't stop working if you get it wet in shallow water – it's waterproof, up to a point. Swimming with your Apple Watch 2 on is not only an option – it's encouraged.
The Series 2 is also faster than the first Watch, and boasts a much brighter display. You won't notice any other design changes, but you can of course get new bands, including ones from Hermes and Nike.
There's a lot to unpack about the Apple Watch Series 2. Here's everything you need to know…
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Cut to the chase
- What is it? The second-generation Apple Watch
- When is it out? Friday, September 16 release date
- What will it cost? $369 (about £369, AU$529)
Apple Watch Series 2 release date
You can buy the Apple Watch 2 at the same time buy your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus because they have the same exact release dates.
Series 2 pre-orders began on Friday, September 9, just two days after Apple announced the Apple Watch sequel.
The official Apple Watch 2 release date is actually this Friday, September 16. The question is which device do you open and play with first – your new smartphone or your new digital timepiece. Decisions, decisions.
Watch our hands on review of the iPhone 7
Apple Watch Series 2 price
The Apple Watch Series 2 price is a little more expensive than the first Watch's launch price a year-and-a-half ago, and way more than the currently discounted Apple Watch price.
It costs $369 in the US, £369 in the UK and AU$529 in Australia. That's going to make the new Apple Watch a hard sell to anyone who isn't a fitness diehard, and obsessed with getting that GPS chip in their watch.
The good news is that Apple is going to continue to sell the Apple Watch with the same faster processor for a cheaper price. Dubbed Apple Watch a Series 1, it'll cost $269 (£269, AU$399) for the entry-level Sport Edition.
Built-in GPS chip
The Apple Watch Series 2 allows you to leave your iPhone behind – at least on runs – now that it includes a GPS chip inside the casing.
So there's no need to have the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus jiggling around in your gym shorts, or hold it in your sweaty hands. You can also throw away that annoying and equally sweaty rubberized arm band designed for runs.
The company showed off the ability to record runs from the Apple Watch Series 2 and display a map on your iPhone for real-time viewing. It's complete with slow and fast colors to indicate your speed.
You won't be able to ditch your iPhone for everyday use, as the Watch Series 2 doesn't have cellular capabilities, but this is definitely a start – and it points toward a completely tetherless Apple Watch in the future.
The Apple Watch Series 2 is waterproof up to 50 meters, meaning you can happily go swimming with it on – it's no coincidence that the Series 2 launches at the same time as a new swimming app, with all of your laps in the pool finally counting toward your fitness goal rings.
Apple warns, however, that you shouldn't go scuba diving with it on – it'll survive just fine in shallow water, but this is in no way a diver's watch.
What's really neat here is that the Apple Watch Series 2 uses sound vibrations to flush water out of its speaker grille – the only non-sealed element of the watch.
Apple Watch Series 2 also has a water lock capability within swimming section of its fitness app, so that errant touches and splashes don't constantly swipe you away from the all-important screen.
Apple's new S2 processor isn't as sexy of a highlight as "GPS-mapped runs" and "waterproof enough to swim with," but it's a big deal if you've ever struggled with Apple Watch app loading.
The dual-core chip is 50% faster and provides twice the graphics performance compared to the first Apple Watch. It's going to be most noticeable when loading up third-party apps and making calls.
Apple Watch 2 has a very similar dual-core processor, which the company is calling the S1P. Essentially it's the S2 without the embedded GPS chip.
All of this System-in-Package architecture paves the way for better battery performance while the Watch completes more strenuous tasks. At this rate, maybe Apple Watch 3 will support FaceTime video camera.
Design and display
The Apple Watch Series 2 doesn't look any different to the current Apple Watch at first glance, but look at the display and you'll notice a difference.
That's because the Series 2 smartwatch features Apple's second-generation display, which is twice as bright as the original Apple watch at 1,000 nits. You'll have an easier time reading it in direct sunlight.
There'll be a new finish: ceramic. It'll join aluminum and stainless steel cases, with the ultra-expensive gold Apple Watch cases being retired in the upgrade to the Series 1 and Series 2.
And of course, you can't get away from new Apple Watch Series 2 bands from Hermes and Nike. The Apple Watch Nike Plus is more than just a new band – it's a special Apple Watch Series 2 designed for runners, with a silicone band and special watch faces that launch you right into a running app.
Of course, all Apple Watch Series 2 watches will launch with watchOS 3, Apple's big software upgrade for all versions of the Apple Watch, and you'll be able to play Pokemon Go.
No FaceTime camera
There was a lot of speculation floating around regarding an Apple Watch 2 with a FaceTime camera. It was a natural assumption, as some Samsung watches have included a camera.
All of the camera rumors have evaporated, however, and we're heard there's a good reason for that: Apple is focused on adding the GPS chip and, eventually, untethering the watch from the phone.
So while the Apple Watch 2 doesn't have a camera, we could see one appear in the Apple Watch 3.
What's being saved for Apple Watch 3?
There were rumors of very different Apple Watch cases outside of the new Ceramic build. This included speculation about titanium, platinum and perhaps even Liquidmetal
But big design shifts are expected for Apple Watch 3. Future models could also have a new breed of smart band, as a recent patent application has been filed for a strap that has light fibres woven in to it.
This means you'll be able to get notifications on your wrist – all the way around. Hopefully it won't flash or be too overt, but will simply function as a second screen to provide more information than is possible on the small screen.
And since cellular capabilities didn't make it to the Apple Watch 2, you can bet that the company will make that a priority on a 2017 Apple Watch.
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